This week marked the start of SUU’s Spring 2014 Convocations with a visit from Olene Walker, who was the governor of Utah from November 2003 to January 2005. She was Utah’s first, and so far only, female governor. It was a pleasure to have her present a Convocation, especially since she was joined by Rich Kendell, who served SUU as interim president in the Fall.
The first three scheduled Convocations this semester will actually all be presented by women.
Kathryn Clark will stop by for a Convocation on Tuesday. Clark served as NASA's Chief Scientist for the International Space Station Program and as Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration and Development of Space Enterprise.
The third scheduled Convocation will be by Sylvia Earle, who will present on Feb. 11. Earle is a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and has led more than 50 undersea explorations. She has also given a TED Talk, so if you are hesitating over whether or not to attend the Convocation, you can visit www.ted.com/speakers/sylvia_earle.html for a sneak preview of what she might have to say.
Walker’s Convocation focused on how Utah should evolve to encourage women to receive higher education degrees, as well as to nurture the presence of women in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields.
One main factor keeping Utah women away from finishing college and pursuing careers is a perception that all a woman needs to do is marry, and she will not need to work outside of her home. While homemaking is a wonderful career, women in Utah, especially those graduating high school or attending college, need to realize that 62 percent of women over age 16 participate in the job market (this statistic was taken in 2008; we found it on a fact sheet on utah.gov called “Facts About Women in Utah”).
That means that most women will end up working. If a woman obtains a degree, she will be more likely to have a job that not only pays more, but that she will enjoy more.
Walker was somehow able to raise seven children, earn a doctorate and serve as both Utah’s lieutenant governor and the governor of Utah. Most of the female students at SUU do not have dreams of following her path, but it is incredible to see what is possible.
We encourage the women at SUU to not sell themselves short, but to work hard to fulfill their dreams, no matter what those dreams may be or where that hard work takes them.
You are in charge of your life; however, we do suggest you graduate, because one never knows where life will take them.
The opinions expressed above are the collective perspective of the University Journal Editorial Board. The Editorial Board meets Tuesdays at noon in room 176C of the Sharwan Smith Student Center.